Windows 10 update is freezing games: Microsoft's fix? Uninstall it for now

Microsoft's latest update for Windows 10 users has been causing "massive lag spikes" in some games.

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Microsoft says it is working on a fix for an issue in the March 1 update for Windows 10 version 1809 that has been causing severe performance issues with several popular games, including Destiny 2. 

The update KB4482887 has been creating huge performance problems for some gamers on Windows 10, affecting mouse movements and graphics. 

As reported on Wednesday by Windows watcher Woody Leonhard, there are two very busy threads on Reddit from users who've had problems with Destiny 2 and other games. 

The problems are reportedly worse on games that are nearly a decade old, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. However, the bug doesn't affect games like the 2018 release, Battlefield V.  

"This patch is causing massive lag spikes in older games, like CoD4 and CoD MW2. Right after installing this update, I launch any of the two aforementioned games, moving the mouse around (yes, mouse movement) causes the game to freeze in one second intervals every time. If you don't move the mouse, game appears fine," wrote one user

While Microsoft has now confirmed the performance issue is due to the update KB4482887, Windows 10 users have for the past two days been trying to figure out the source of the problem themselves, running through other possible suspects like graphics drivers. 

"I logged in to play some yesterday prior to Season of the Drifter starting this Tuesday and noticed my game was unusually sluggish. It also felt as though my mouse setting and sensitivity were messed up even though I had been comfortable with the settings I have for quite a long time now," wrote another Reddit user.  

"At first I thought it may have been the latest Nvidia driver so I reverted and tried each of the last four official versions, and the problem was still there."

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

But even before Microsoft officially acknowledged the issue on Thursday, that user had figured out that uninstalling KB4482887 and pausing Windows update to prevent it from reinstalling would resolve the problem. 

"As a short-term resolution, users can uninstall KB4482887 to regain performance," Microsoft said, adding that it will provide a resolution in an upcoming update.  

A Microsoft employee said to be on the Windows kernel team fortunately did notice the thread a few days ago and called on affected users to report the issue through the Feedback Hub for Microsoft to investigate.     

The employee also addressed speculation that the gaming performance issues could have been caused by this update enabling Retpoline, the Google-developed software-based mitigation for Spectre variant 2. 

As Microsoft noted in a blog this month, the original microcode updates from chipmakers resulted in "larger performance degradation than we'd like on certain processors and workloads". Retpoline is a less taxing mitigation for the same vulnerability. 

Although KB4482887 does contain Microsoft's implementation of Retpoline, the employee noted it needs to be enabled, which it had not been as of March 3. Microsoft intends to enable Retpoline gradually over the coming months. 

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